Traumatized people of Imo State, especially those whose means of livelihood have been hampered, disorganised or business locations inconvenienced by the dispossession, dislocation and demolition inflicted on them, have been told to take heart, as God has not abandoned them.
These words of consolation were contained in the 2018 Lenten message to Christ’s faithful and Imo people by His Grace, Most Rev Anthony J.V. Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri titled: “Take heart God cares for you” – A message of consolation… in the face of our people’s agony and groans. The message was read in all parishes in Owerri Archdiocese on Sunday Feb. 18. It reads:
“As I travel across the length and breadth of the Archdiocese, see the devastations and hear the sorrowful narrations of the losses sustained by our people, I recall the Biblical Rachel bitterly lamenting and weeping over the loss of her children. It is sad that this year 2018, my usual practice of opening the market year with Holy Mass and prayers inside the Eke Ukwu Market Owerri will not hold. I am also saddened by the fact that many other people, their businesses and business locations have been adversely affected. I commiserate with you all, our traders in Eke Ukwu Market, New Market in Owerri and in other markets across the State that have been demolished. Our mechanics who have lost their business locations, our Keke operators who have been hampered in their businesses as well as all others who have been displaced without adequate arrangements for compensation and resettling, I feel your pains. My heart also goes out to persons and communities whose landed properties have been forcefully taken over, as well as those in the allied services whose jobs have been adversely affected. I also think of our workers, retirees and pensioners whose wages and entitlements are unjustly slashed, delayed or not paid at all. I equally remember all those who are inconvenienced by the dispossession, dislocation and demolition inflicted upon you all.
“As we begin this year’s Lenten Season, I exhort all of you to take heart and not to despair in the face of these sufferings. Our ever-caring heavenly Father never abandons us, for He is “our strength in adversity, our health in weakness and our comfort in sorrow”.